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Pelican Hill names executive chef

Thomas Ryan has experience with both hotels and restaurants and training in New York and Munich.

August 29, 2007|By Michael Miller

Thomas Ryan has assembled the menu for seven luxury hotel openings, served wealthy diners in Europe, and cooked at the home of one of America’s most renowned chefs.

But when the Irvine Co. recruited him to oversee the kitchen at its planned Resort at Pelican Hill, he still felt awed by the opportunity.

Ryan, a veteran of the restaurant and hotel industries who trained in both New York and Munich, was announced Tuesday as the executive chef of the resort in Newport Coast. The resort’s golf club and restaurant are scheduled to open this November, with the rest of the upscale property to start operations next year.

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“When you approach a project that has this degree of talent across the board, you can tell right away it’s a team you want to be a part of,” Ryan said. “It’s far above and beyond anything else going on in the industry.”

A New York native, Ryan graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in his home state and went on to work for the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton company and a number of independent hotels.

On two occasions, he served as part of the “Great Chefs of the World” series at the former home of renowned chef James Beard in Greenwich Village.

At the Resort at Pelican Hill, he will work in an upscale restaurant area with 16th-century Italian-style architecture, an open kitchen, a bar, a terrace area and a private dining room.

“The restaurant itself, I think, is going to hold a special place in Newport Beach,” he said.

The Resort of Pelican Hill, which will be the most lavish resort in Newport-Mesa if it is finished according to plan, features a 204-room hotel, 128 villas and a spa along with the golf club and restaurant.

City leaders have hailed the project, calling it a boon for local businesses and property tax revenues.

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